COVID-19 On the Rise in Knox County
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By Knox County Health Department Administrator Lori Moots-Clair
Thursday, September 2, 2021 – Fourteen (14) new cases added over the last two days. We aren’t gaining any ground with active cases because we acquire more each day. We have worked 102 cases since August 1, 2021. We have had multiple people hospitalized, multiple people go for monoclonal antibodies, and those sick enough to report to a healthcare providers are growing daily.
We weren’t happy we had to start quarantining children exposed at school but the current guidance reflects that this is a necessity with Covid-19. And, we are seeing this guidance is appropriate in that we are seeing contacts convert to positive at a much higher rate than in early 2021 and 2020.
Not all people are critically or even severely ill from Covid-19 but for everyone that is, this situation needs to be taken seriously.
Our community members, friends, family are not expendable. We appreciate your patience/ kindness when we call, even when you don’t want to be. It doesn’t help to cuss, scream or accuse agency employees of purposefully trying to hurt the education of children. We are in fact doing just the opposite. We are doing everything possible to see that these kids lose as little days in the classroom as possible by providing the free antigen test opportunity to return them to school on the seventh (7th) day post contact.
With the last round of quarantines, kids lost a total of three (3) days in the classroom, and if they are asymptomatic and test negative they will return to school with a mask for the last seven (7) days.
We offer this because we know most will convert by the seventh day after exposure.
We are trying to do what the law mandates, and do what helps minimize the educational burden. We are on Knox County’s side, even when Knox Countians may not believe it. The only thing that could and would help us avoid the quarantine is for all parties involved to be in masks, and if there was ever a time to wear them for any Knox Countian inside public places or in large outdoor congregations – this is it.
Calls regarding positive cases in public places are going up daily. Our response is that we cannot talk about independent cases, however you are encouraged to call the Knox County Prosecutors Office and file a complaint, at which time they can summons records from our office.
Covid-19 can be life altering for the wrong person, so to knowingly go into public places and expose others with a positive diagnosis is not only selfish, it’s dangerous.
We know with Covid-19 you are spreading disease two days before you are sick, so there are many people that have contacts with no intent to make anyone sick, that can’t be helped, only dealt with.
Positives knowingly going about exposing others is not justified by the thought this “isn’t real” or with the thought “we won’t make anyone sick”.
Covid-19 isn’t the only communicable disease we will soon see looming. We expect influenza numbers to return this year as mitigation for covid-19 has gone so much by the wayside.
Flu vaccine will be offered when it arrives. Covid-19 vaccine continues to be offered. We continue to offer free testing at days 2-4 of symptoms or for quarantine test out of Knox county residents or school employees.
You are tired, we are tired. But this is not the time to throw caution to the wind and just let it go. Transmission is high in Knox County. It wasn’t in April/May/June or even July—It is now.
Stay home if you are positive for ten (10) days post symptom onset. If vaccinated, wear a mask for 14 days if (you have) contact to a positive, and test if you need to.
If not vaccinated, avoid public contact for seven (7) days and get a test and then mask for the last seven (7) days and go about your business.
We can make ourselves uncomfortable for a few weeks if it means helping someone we know stay safe.
Be Well Knox County – And Do The Right Things. -LMC, Director
Friday, September 3, 2021 – Ten (10) cases added today. If you are a close contact to a positive case and not vaccinated the recommendation is: FROM LAST DATE OF CONTACT – Ten (10) days monitoring away from the public, and if still asymptomatic return to public (school/work) with a mask for a minimum of the last four (4) days monitoring yourself for symptoms. OR, obtain a test on day seven (7) declaring you are asymptomatic, and if negative return to public/school with a mask for a minimum of the next seven (7) days – continuing to monitor yourself or your child.
If you are fully vaccinated (two weeks past second dose, or one if JnJ), you are encouraged to mask a minimum of the next 14 days and avoid contact with the high risk – all the while monitoring yourself for symptoms.
These points of release are based on the knowledge that most positive cases (80-85%) convert within seven (7) days after being exposed. That goes down significantly at day ten (10). This is a good compromise in the effort to keep our community well, and to reduce the burden of being away from school and work. If you are uncertain about this process, you continue to have the option to just avoid the public for 14 days.
Symptoms to watch for include: Respiratory (cough, stuffiness, runny nose, short of breath), GI (nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach ache), fever, muscle aches, ear aches, taste and smell alterations and excessively tired.
Be Well Knox County. – LMC